Norsk filminstitutt

An intimate portrait of Syrian actor Fares Helou, who calls for freedom of speech, is forced out of his home country and experiences the absurdities of exiled existence, told by Syrian director Rami Farah, who films - and shares - his struggle.

This film is a chronicle of an uprising and of exile. In the midst of the early months of the Syrian revolution director Rami Farah decides to follow the Syrian actor Fares Helou with his camera. Fares is one of the first Syrian star actors to take a stand publicly against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Fares joins a demonstration and he and soon after he and his family start to receive threats. Fares has to go underground, which is not easy when your face and voices is recognised by everyone everywhere. He worries about his Art Centre – Al Bustan, which he is trying to create as a free space for artists of all kinds. Soon after the art centre is smashed by the regime. Fares leaves Syria and go to France. Rami follows with Fares’ wife and children. They both believe that they will soon be back in a free Damascus. But Syria falls apart, and neither the actor nor the director has a script for this new chapter in their lives: Exile. A chapter full of questions, disappointments and alienation, but also of hope and of cultural confusion that calls for laughter. A Comedian in a Syrian Tragedy is an intimate observation of the absurdity of (exiled) existence. 

Production and distribution

Production Year:
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Production company:
Final Cut for Real
Co production company:
Sant & Usant AS
Shashat Multimedia Productions
Financing company:
Fritt Ord Foundation
Lyana Saleh
Signe Byrge Sørensen
Co producer:
Anita Rehoff Larsen
Cindy Le Templier


Rami Farah
Rami Farah
Gladys Joujou
Dima Orsho
Sound Design:
Henrik Garnov
Sound Recording:
Rami Farah

Technical information